I promised on Twitter a while ago that I would be back to blogging once the school year started. I know that means something different depending on where you are and what flavor of school you are in, but for me, Labor Day Weekend marks the end of the summer and the day after that will always feel like the “first day of school.” As a graduate student who’s been at this education thing for longer than I’d like to admit, I don’t actually experience much of a distinction between summer vacation and the school year anyway (I have to come to lab and do research all the time) so today is as good as any, really.
The one thing that is really different for me over the summer is that the undergraduates aren’t around. They make up a huge fraction of the population in the immediate area around campus, so my world gets less crowded, and I’m a bit more able to do whatever I want whenever I want. Without the undergrads around, there are also fewer people trying to get the undergrads’ attention — so, fewer Christian fellowship groups loitering outside the student union to advertise their meetings, fewer people handing me Chick tracts outside of Chipotle, fewer posters offering “FREE FOOD (and worship services)” plastered all over campus. During the summer, it’s easier for me to forget about the pervasiveness of religion in most people’s lives.
And I’ll admit, it helps me understand why religious people are so fond of their ignorance … this respite from evangelism is a beautiful and relaxing time for me. Temporarily, I get to live in a world where it seems like most people are atheists, and nobody has any problem with my lack of belief at all. Unlike the religious folks who ignore facts about science and history, though, I know my vacation from reality is a temporary one, and I try to use it to “recharge my batteries.” Several times over the last few weeks I’ve had good ideas for blog posts, but I felt the anger start to bubble up where there had been none before — so I said to myself, “Self, you’re on vacation from being pissed about religious indoctrination. Stay happy while you can. You can write this later, when you’re already feeling angry.” And then I watched a few more episodes of Star Trek, ate some frozen yogurt, and worked on my experiments.
Well, now I’m back in the thick of it, with the undergrads and the evangelists in full force, so I can tell I’m going to need my release valve of this blog again. And I have this great list of ideas I built up over the summer. So let’s get to it! And in the meantime … why don’t you let me know in the comments how you savored your summer vacation (if you were able to get one at all)?